COVID-19: legislation for covered and indoor arenas in England

Friday, 26 March 2021

British Equestrian has been made aware that the recent legislation published by government now states that indoor riding arenas in England should close and will not be permitted to open on Monday 29 March in line with other outdoor sports facilities. This contravenes the agreed position achieved through collective work by British Equestrian, our member bodies, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) prior to the resumption of activity at the end of the first lockdown in 2020.

We had agreement by government to the effect: “…venues which includes the use of large, open and well-ventilated equestrian covered arenas (these are sometimes termed ‘indoor’ arenas by equestrians, but due to their size and ventilation are not considered indoor for the purposes of this guidance).”

The above wording was introduced into the legislation, and equestrian activity and sport was able to resume under strict COVID protocols to ensure the safety of all participants without issue. The wording has been removed from the legislation published today.

British Equestrian has raised this as a matter of urgency with Sport England, DCMS and Defra for clarification because this change in situation is not justified or reasonable, particularly at such short notice. We know there will be a degree of frustration throughout the industry at this development, but we will continue to represent collective interests of the equine sector in England for a solution.